Automation has come a long way as we developed applications and technologies to automate business processes such as Enterprise Resource Planning software (ERP), Customer Relationship Management software (CRM), Web/Mobile apps and any solution for a specific business need. Nevertheless, the reality is that businesses still rely on humans not only for critical decision making but even for mundane repetitive tasks restricting productivity, quality and customer experience to the capability of the human workforce.
As a logical next-step, organizations started to adopt Business Process Automation (BPA), Robotic Process Automation (RPA)and Artificial Intelligence (AI) to eliminate manual efforts, increase productivity, quality, and to lower operational costs.
But before we explain what BPA, RPA and AI can do, let’s start with the basics and the definitions:
Techopedia defines Business Process Automation (BPA) as “the process of managing information, data and processes to reduce costs, resources and investment. BPA increases productivity by automating key business processes through computing technology.”
According to Gartner, “Robotic process automation (RPA) is a productivity tool that allows a user to configure one or more scripts (which some vendors refer to as ‘bots’) to activate specific keystrokes in an automated fashion. The result is that the bots can be used to mimic or emulate selected tasks (transaction steps) within an overall business or IT process. These may include manipulating data, passing data to and from different applications, triggering responses, or executing transactions.”
Investopedia states that, “Artificial intelligence (AI) is the simulation of human intelligence in machines that are programmed to think like humans and mimic their actions. The term may also be applied to any machine that exhibits traits associated with a human mind such as learning and problem-solving.”
While RPA remains valuable and a must-have technology for any organization, there is still a need for a strategic approach to embrace automation and to carry on with the digital transformation journey. That’s where Intelligent Automation (IA) comes in! IA is the term used to describe the combination of Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Automation for the holistic implementation of digital transformation. Intelligent Automation is not a stand-alone tool, but it connects different technologies to empower end-to-end process automation.
In this new series of blog posts on ‘Automation’, we will tell you about IA, so that it can be a guide for your digital transformation journey.
Businesses have been employing technology to improve growth and to gain a competitive edge while facing rapid changes and customer expectations that have become higher than ever before. It is worth noting that the dramatic – and most likely permanent – impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has given organizations a greater reason to look for more innovative ways to keep their operations up and running. Now that the physical footprint became discretionary and working with less human capacity transformed into a policy, organizations have started to adopt IA to implement innovative solutions and to save their businesses.
With the other definitions already mentioned above, these 3 main pillars below broadly define IA and help shape the right Intelligent Automation strategy:
The adoption of the 3 technologies mentioned above and by using advanced tools within a consistent framework can enable organizations to have multiple benefits!
The analysis and research community believes that IA will be a core part of the future operating model. Deloitte research reveals that “organizations currently scaling intelligent automation say they have already achieved a 27% reduction in costs on average from their implementations to date”. Another research from McKinsey back in 2017 already revealed that “companies across multiple industries that have been experimenting with IA are seeing 20-35% annual run-rate efficiencies as a result of automating 50-70% of tasks”. We believe these figures will just keep on growing throughout the years and with further adoption of IA.
In line with the global trend, Automation and AI-driven technologies are making its presence felt in the Middle East. The increasing demand on e-commerce and the thrust to reduce cost and to increase operational efficiency by oil dependent economies have created significant traction for RPA.
Banking, Financial Services, and Telecommunication have started their RPA journey as early adopters in the Middle East. Having software bots to run repetitive, low-value and time-consuming tasks has enabled these sectors to revamp their business model and quickly realize the benefits of RPA. This has encouraged other sectors like Healthcare, Retail, and Oil & Gas to join the wave of Automation and AI towards a more IA-driven future.
On a side note, please keep in mind that IA is not about creating a workflow engine or building a web application, it is about deploying the right technologies in the right way to help organizations focus on the high-value areas of their offerings and to discover new business opportunities.
Sounds easy, but how does it really work?
As we always do at Aspire, we will go the extra mile and create a roadmap for IA implementation. In the next blog articles, we will dive deep into each pillar of IA to show how theory can turn into practice.
Written by: Mohammad Keswani, Manager of RPA Solutions